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Johann Adam Hiller (1728-1804), one of the most notable German singspiel composers of the 18th century, is responsible for the great influence that Chabanon’s Treatise exerted in Germany. In Hiller’s first published article, « An Essay on [the] Imitation of Nature in Music » (1754), following the theory developed by Charles Batteux, Hiller argues for the « imitation » of music. However, at the same time, he also sets a limit on the concept, insisting that « music may go beyond nature insofar as the former does not neglect the latter ». A decade later, in 1764, Hiller edited an anthology entitled Selected Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Moral, Politics, and Fine Arts. In his article, « Music », Hiller culled extracts from Rousseau’s Letter on French Music (1753), wherein Rousseau discusses the three elements of music : melody, harmony, and rhythm. Then, in 1781, Hiller published a translation of Chabanon’s Treatise of 1779, which Hiller mistakenly attributed to François-Jean Chastellux. Twenty-nine notes added by the translator clearly point to Hiller’s effort to incorporate Chabanon’s Treatise into the canon of German music. One year later, Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818) wrote a book review wherein he pointed out Hiller’s mistake and correctly attributed the Treatise to Chabanon once again.
Michel-Paul-Guy de Chabanon et ses contemporains
Tanehisa Otabe
Université de Tokyo
M.P.G. de Chabanon et J.A. Hiller, les Observations sur la musique en Allemagne (1781)